Re: What do you believe?
Virginia Postrel is a political and cultural writer who is a contributing editor for The Atlantic, editor-in-chief of DeepGlamour.net, and the author of The Substance of Style and The Future and Its Enemies. She is currently writing a book on glamour for The Free Press. She previously wrote an economics column in The New York Times for six years, served as editor of Reason and has worked as a reporter for Inc. Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Individual Rights and is a popular blogger and speaker. She was educated at Princeton University and lives in Los Angeles.
Virginia Postrel: Well there is a philosophy, but it’s not a simple creed. Which is hard for people to understand sometimes because I’ve edited this libertarian magazine for 10 years. And a lot of people think that can be summed up as something like government is bad, which I don’t believe. Or even freedom is good, which I do believe; but then what do you mean by freedom and exactly how do you express it? I think that there is a belief in potential of the individual, and individuals who join together to do things . . . voluntarily joining together to do things, creating institutions. I have a great belief in the value of learning as both an individual endeavor and a social endeavor. And a lot of what “The Future and Its Enemies” is really about at its core is how societies learn. And in some sense whether there’s some places you shouldn’t go, and whether it’s okay to have open-ended learning. How you find improvement. I have a sort of belief that we only get one life, and that while some people would take that to mean, you know, “Oh you should just be cool to other people,” I take it to mean that you really need to value other people’s lives and your own, and to maximize what you do with your life, and to recognize the value of other people’s lives as well. And looks to ways to improve the quality of the lives of others as well as yourself. And by the way, I don’t think there is anything wrong . . . This is not some sort of self abnegation. I believe that people should look to do well by themselves as well. But I like the Scottish philosophers that I very much admire from the 18th century. Hume and Smith and those people. I put a very high value on sympathy and empathy, and this sort of morale imagination to put yourself in another person’s place.
In the potential of the individual and the value of learning.